Facade grant could go city-wide

No one argues that there are building facades throughout the City of Warren that could use some work.

The city has some revolving loan funding available but, according to City Planner David Hildebrand, that funding has been locked into Commercial 1 zoning districts since the days of the Impact Warren and Streetscape projects.

That might be changing.

Hildebrand told the Planning Commission last week that he would like to see that funding, “reconfigure(d) to bring that out… to other parts of town east and west.”

“Historically, that funding was geared (downtown),” he explained, and “never really moved out of those boundaries to that point.”

He said the funding was originally set up in 2004 for facade work in the Impact Warren area, in the Clark Street and Pennsylvania Avenue section of the city, and was expanded to all of the C1 areas in 2008.

Hildebrand acknowledged funding could still be utilized in those areas but he “thinks it is best to open up to all C1 and C2 areas city wide.”

Such a change would require City Council approval.

Commission member Gregory Fraser asked what the source of the funding was.

Hildebrand said that some of it was, “old grants we had”, as well as, “some general fund money.”

He said that the program, while currently a loan program, used to be a straight 50-50 match with the owner of the property, but most of the grant money has been used..

No formal action was taken on Wednesday.

A recommendation from the Planning Commission at a future meeting would then go before City Council for approval.